A loss expected to happen next year looks smaller than that same loss happening next week. Worse yet, a loss or catastrophe that may happen (indeed, is highly likely to happen) decades away is essentially invisible, unthinkable or unworthy of attention now. In other words, humans suffer from an intrinsic thinking defect best described as time blindness. It is the inability to correctly foresee and take seriously long term consequences of current actions.
No wonder that people easily spend decades eating unhealthy foods or living a sedentary lifestyle, or both, without appreciating or internalizing the inevitable negative and serious health impacts, from heart disease to all kinds of cancers, for example.
Many years ago, actually I think it was 1985, I was on a trip to London from New York and having discovered as it were a few years earlier, the online world of FidoNet, I was anxious to spread the word to the comrades. A year before I’d started New York Online (1983-92) that I ended up running on my first Macintosh computer and was busy networking independent journalism to the planet from my loft in Brooklyn.
In any case, I was in London trying to get the Morning Star newspaper online, or at least using email and I met with the then foreign editor of the Star, David Whitfield who was less than impressed with my vision but who nevertheless introduced me to David Coetzee, an exiled South African journalist who published a weekly digest on Southern African affairs called SouthScan – A Bulletin of Southern African Affairs. The meeting with David changed the entire trajectory of my life, in fact, I doubt I would be sitting here now writing this were it not for meeting up with David.
* Climate change activist Ted Glick was sentenced in Washington DC yesterday to $1,100 fine, one year probation, and 40 hour community service for helping to drop two banners (Green Jobs Now and Get to Work) in a U.S. Senate office building. In his statement Ted talked about the escalating reality of global warming.
I’ll begin with a quote from a March 4th, 2010 press release from the U.S. National Science Foundation. It concerns the emission of methane, a greenhouse gas 70 times as strong as carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it is released into the atmosphere. This release begins:
“A section of the Arctic Ocean seafloor that holds vast stores of frozen methane is showing signs of instability and widespread venting of the powerful greenhouse gas, according to the findings of an international research team. . .
“All the G-20 nations have agreed to impose fiscal austerity which essentially means the destruction of society, the elimination of the middle class and the downgrading of democracy.” — Andrew Gavin Marshall
The US empire may be in decline, but Andrew Gavin Marshall says that the US government doesn’t seem to realize this. Military policies are working to expand the empire and foreign policy fails to recognize the new powers rising. Where does this leave the United States? And how long can it hang on?
JAY: Superintendent McNeil told his hometown paper, The Cape Breton Post, quote, “‘We have the ability through our video feed to see everything that is going on.’ There are even helicopters and planes providing video feed. ‘We can see them from the air, we can see them from the ground, if there’s anyone trying to interfere, we would see that.'” Well, we know the police had infiltrated the black bloc. Now, we know the cameras could see everywhere. So why couldn’t the police defend their own vehicles? Was this part of a plan? Or a lack of available resources, as the police have said? Only a public inquiry can answer this question. Television images of police cars ablaze set the stage for mass arrests.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton completed a four-day, five-nation tour of Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus by sharing a press conference with Georgia’s erratic president Mikheil Saakashvili and delivering what in effect was a harsh ultimatum to Russia.
A stern and even provocative admonishment which clearly defines the narrow parameters within which the current U.S. administration has “pushed the reset button” with Moscow.
As Clinton’s own comments best illustrate, Russia is a partner of the United States when it assists in levying onerous sanctions against Iran, provides support for the nine-year American and NATO war in Afghanistan (and neighboring Pakistan), and timidly accedes to the Pentagon taking over military bases and stationing interceptor missile batteries along Russia’s Western flank from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.
Iraq and Afghanistan are not yet wholly “Obama’s wars,” but the White House’s piece-meal, deferential retreat from out-of-control Gulf deluge has become his and his alone. The Big Spill dramatizes, furthermore, how a once savvy politician squanders his first, best opportunity to redeem a steadily faltering presidency.
If heroes emerge by resolving daunting dilemmas, especially man-made, this paragon of caution remains pedestrian and reactive, as he plays it safe by risking the safety of the Gulf. Yet when a risk-adverse president relegates the safety, and survival, of our most valuable coastal region to the reckless polluter who imperils it, he ironically becomes a high-stake gambler by default. Failure to act under challenge qualifies as enabling an addict, and BP certainly qualifies, repeatedly enjoining all the world in its high-risk, costly oil misadventures.